Australia is a very big place and is far away from any other islands or continents. So, it has many creatures that you cannot find anywhere else.
We are going to look at the spiders from Australia. They are all different in some way. Some are very big. Some don’t act like other spiders. Some look very scary.
All spiders are like each other in some ways. They always have eight legs. Spiders can all spin silk that they can turn into a web. And they live by hunting other creatures and insects.
01. Golden Orb-Weaver
The Golden Orb-Weaver makes very big webs. It has feet that point in at the ends, which makes it very good at weaving. Most spiders have feet that point out, making them better at moving around. An orb is a round shape. This spider spins a web that has a sticky circle in the middle. The rest of the web is not sticky.
This spider can get very large, even as big as your hand. The Golden Orb-Weaver is very brightly colored. It is sometimes called a banana spider. The colors are to scare off predators. They are how the spider says, “Don’t eat me!” to bigger animals.
02. Funnel Web Spider
This spider only lives in the east half of Australia. Many people are afraid of it, because some of these spiders have very strong poison. Not all of them do, but it is hard to tell them apart.
Unlike many spiders, Funnel Web spiders live in burrows in the ground. Sometimes they are seen in trees, but not often. They build a funnel of web at the entrance to their burrow. The funnel has many long strings that lead to it. When another creature touches these strings, the spider can feel it. This tells the spider whether it is time to hunt or time to hide.
03. Green Tent Spider
This spider is green and it makes big web tents. These tents spread between two bushes or plants, and can be as long as your arm! Sometimes spiders will build tents next to each other, making them look even bigger. The tents are not sticky. They are built so insects get tangled up instead.
Because the tents are built next to bushes, little bits of the bush often get stuck in the net. The spider cuts them away and fixes the web every day. It will take apart and rebuild the whole web every two weeks. When they are not working, the spiders will rest in the middle of the tent. This is also where the mother spider will lay her eggs.
04. Water Spider
This spider always lives very close to water. If it is scared, it will run to the water, or even hide under the water! It has a very special way of walking so it can walk on top of the water.
The water spider’s web is flat and made on top of leaves. It is not a sticky web, but it is the spider’s home. If a bug lands on the web, the spider can feel it. Then it will sneak up on the bug.
There are even very big water spiders that eat small fish. It will tap the water with a foot. A fish will come to see what is going on, and the spider will grab it!
This spider likes to hide under things. It has a flat body to help it hide. It can get very big, as big as a small plate, but it is not dangerous.
It likes to come inside houses because there are lots of places to hide. It is famous in Australia for hiding and then scaring people when it is found. It can travel very fast by walking and by taking small jumps. It can walk up walls or even upside down!
Huntsman spiders are usually grey or brown. They like to live above the ground, on trees and in rock walls. Mostly it likes to hide, which is why it goes into houses. It does not build webs, as the name says, it would rather hunt!
06. Redback Spider
This spider is easy to recognize because of the red stripe on its pea-sized body. The female spider makes the web, and male spiders live on the outside edge of it. The Redback likes living near humans, but not too near. It often found in corners of rooms that aren’t used much or closets or garages.
The female lays eggs in groups of 250. She will lay as many as ten of them at once! When the babies hatch, they will spin out a small string of web. It catches the wind, and carries them away! They will make their own nest some place else.
07. Garden Orb-Weaver
Do you remember the other Orb-Weaver spider? Remember, the name comes from the round shape in the center of the web. The Garden Orb-Weaver makes a web at night and takes it down every morning.
There are more than one hundred kinds of this spider living in Australia. They live all over the country. Their body forms a triangle pointing away from the head. They have two legs that are shorter than all the rest.
When it is not on its web, the spider sleeps. It pulls its legs under it and curls up. It is a favorite snack of a bird called a Honey Eater.
08. Trapdoor Spider
This is a very famous kind of spider. It is known for hiding in a hole in the ground, leaping out, and dragging its prey into the hole. The trapdoor is what covers the hole and hides the spider. However, not all Trapdoor Spiders do this.
When the spider grows, it has to make its hole bigger, or find a new one. Babies stay close to the burrow for longer than most spiders. They stay near their mother for protection until they are ready to go out on their own.
09. Leaf-Curling Spider
This is another spider that takes its name from what it does. It likes to hide inside a curled up leaf.
It is another orb-weaver, which means it makes a big, round web. It is much smaller than most orb- weavers, so it hides all the time. It rolls up a leaf and makes it into a house, using web silk to keep it together. The leaf sits in the center of the web.
The spider hides in its house, but lets it legs hang out, so it can feel the web. If an insect gets stuck, the Leaf-Curling spider will come out and grab it.
10. Black House Spider
I bet you can guess where this spider gets its name from! They are black and like to live in houses. They like to live in corners, so sometimes they are called Window Spiders. They will build a web near a light, hoping to catch more insects. They do not get very big, and they are not dangerous.
Outside, Black House Spiders usually live on trees. They have very untidy webs with a small house in one corner. The female will never leave her web. You can tell old webs because the web is grey with new parts.
11. White-Tailed Spider
This spider does not get very big, but it is known to attack and eat other spiders. It has a white spot on the end of its body, which gives it the name White-Tailed Spider.
These spiders like to walk around, so they don’t build webs or houses. The mother will only spin an egg sac when she has babies. They like to live under things, like rocks, and are often found under houses and in gardens.
They hunt at night and eat all kinds of insects, as well as other spiders. They like to live near houses and like hunting Black House Spiders.
12. Net-Casting Spider
This spider is long, skinny and brown, so it can look like just a few small sticks. It will build a web of just a few threads of silk. Rather than wait for bugs to be stuck in a web, it catches the bugs. It makes a small net that it throws at insects.
It usually lives in trees or on the sides of houses so that it can reach its prey. While it waits, it spins a small, square net to throw. It only hunts at night and uses its stick-like appearance to hide during the day.
13. Spiny Orb-Weaver
This spider has a very good name. It spins orb webs, and it is spiny! In fact, it has a flat plate on its back that looks like a leaf. The plate has six spikes. The plate also makes it look not much like a spider, at least until you turn it over.
This spider usually lives in bushes or trees so it can catch flying insects. As you know, it makes a web with a round or “orb” part. The Spiny Orb-Weaver can come in many different colors so it can hide well.
14. Spitting Spider
Can you guess how this spider gets its name? That’s right! This spider spits a goo made of venom and sticky silk. It can spit faster than you can blink.
The goo comes out of two places in its body, so it is easier to hit the target. The spider even moves while it shoots to make sure it will hit. The insect is trapped, and then the venom makes it sick, and the spider attacks.
This spider has cousins around the world, and three kinds are found in Australia. It has a fat body but very thin legs, so it looks smaller and weaker than it is.
15. Flower Spider
This spider gets its name from looking like certain flowers. It matches them so it can hide easily. It may even be named after the kind of flower it hides near. The body is small and shiny, and can come in many colors, including red, white, yellow, or green. It can also be brown or spotted.
These spiders claim a flower and make it their home. They will not share it with other spiders. During the night, they will sleep under petals or leaves. During the day, they hunt. They hunt by waiting for an insect to get to close and then grabbing it. They move around a lot to find new places to hunt.
16. Red and Black Spider
This spider has a black tail and red legs and a red head. It is not dangerous, so the bright red is probably to make other animals stay away.
It is small and it lives close to the ground, under rocks and bushes. This spider lays a very clever trap for insects. There are little sticky drops attached to the web. An insect gets stuck to these drops. When it struggles, the silk line will break, and the bug will be pulled into the web and get even more stuck.
During the summer, the male will look for a female. When he does, he will walk a long way. Sometimes he will even go inside. He is often seen indoors in the summer. People see him and think he is a Redback Spider. But he doesn’t have a strong bite like that spider.
17. Scorpion-Tailed Spider
This spider is very odd looking, which is one of the reasons for its name. Its body is very long and comes to a tail-like point. While it looks a bit like a scorpion’s tail, the tail doesn’t have a stinger.
The spider’s odd appearance helps it look like a leaf or a bit of plant. Adult spiders are light brown, but the babies may be bright colors until they grow up.
This is another orb-weaver spider, so its web has a central circle. Its web is usually very close to the ground. The spider is also called a Scorpion-Tailed Orb-Weaver, or even just a Tailed Spider.
18. Woodlouse Spider
This is another spider with more than one name. It is called a Woodlouse Spider because of what it likes to eat. Wood lice are also called Slaters. So, the spider is also called a Slater-eating spider.
This is not an Australian spider. It was brought to Australia from Europe. The spider does not like ants, and there are a lot of ants in Australia. So, the spider is only found in a small part of the country, in the south east corner. This spider doesn’t build a web. It makes a silky nest instead. The spider sleeps during the day and hunts insects at night.
19. Magnificent Spider
The spider gets its name from how it looks. The adult female is not big, but it is hairy, and it has yellow and pink spots. This spider makes a nest out of leaves and silk and hides there during the day.
At night the spider hunts moths. It drops a single line of silk that smells good to moths. When the moths touch it, they get stuck, and the spider pulls them in. It’s like fishing. Because they hunt moths, Magnificent Spiders don’t live in houses. They like to live in trees and gardens.
20. Cave Whip Spider
This is another spider that isn’t really a spider, but it is an arachnid, which means it has eight legs. Two of these legs are the whips. They aren’t used for walking. When the spider walks, the two whips feel and sense where the spider is. The whips can be much longer than the spider itself.
As the name says this kind of whip spider likes to live in caves. It uses its whips to find its way in the dark. Often it walks from side to side. This creature also uses its whips for feeling out prey to grab and eat. The whips are very useful!
21. St. Andrew’s Cross Spider
This spider gets its name from a cross or X shape that it makes in its web. No one is quite sure why it does this. It is also an orb-weaver spider.
The female is very pretty, with spots and yellow stripes around its body. The male is smaller and plain colored. They sit with their legs in pairs, so they may look like they only have four legs. The females only get as big as your finger nail, the males are even smaller.
When the spider thinks it is under attack, it will shake its web. The cross shape and the spider will both become blurry as the web shakes, scaring off hunters.
22. Wolf Spider
These spiders are very scary looking and are often used in movies. They are not dangerous, but they can get bigger than your hand! Wolf spiders are grey and hairy, like wolves. They stand out because they have three rows of eyes.
Wolf spiders are hunters and they do not build webs. Instead they will build nests in leaves or dig holes in the ground. They like to be able to hide under things. Wolf spiders are picky about their homes. Some like the desert and some like to live right by water.
These spiders are found all over Australia. They can be big or small, and they may have different colors on their bellies and faces. Some even have pink bellies.